Starring: Drew Barrymore, Molly Shannon, John C. Reilly
Director: Raja Gosnell
Running Time: 107 mins
Never Been Kissed is an American film about a young journalist who goes undercover at a high school to scoop a story, but also tries to redeem herself after awful years at high school last time round.
This is a fairly harmless film, but it’s also a really generic and pretty uninteresting romantic comedy with little in the way of good humour or engaging characters. Yes, it’s not the most annoying watch, but nor is it particularly entertaining in any way.
Let’s start on the plus side, however, with the fact that, as a pretty formulaic romantic comedy, you’re in for a light-hearted, easy-going watch with Never Been Kissed. As much as it fails to inspire genuine comedy, it manages to succeed by avoiding any particularly cheesy or melodramatic story lines by sticking as close to the rom-com formula as possible, and that means it’s nowhere near as annoying to watch as you’d expect.
Another positive comes in the form of the film’s slightly confused 80s/90s atmosphere. Although it may not seem like a good point at first glance, and is occasionally a little off-putting early on, the fact that the film even goes for something a little different in the atmosphere, mixing contemporary late 90s with Drew Barrymore’s character’s childhood 80s, gives the film a tiny bit of flavour that makes it slightly memorable.
Apart from that, however, I didn’t find much enjoyment in Never Been Kissed. Above all, it’s not particularly engaging given that it’s so formulaic. Yes, it’s light-hearted and fluffy, but you can tell everything that’s going to happen right from the first act, and there’s absolutely no reason to try and get wrapped up in the story at hand, which makes for a pretty dull watch in all fairness.
Another problem with that formula is that it doesn’t cater particularly well to either well-developed or basically interesting characters, making it even harder to get emotionally engaged in the story, given that the characters here are no different to the hundreds of others you’ve seen in genre films before.
Finally, the performances aren’t that amazing. Again, being so generic, there’s not much for the actors to work with in the screenplay, but the likes of Drew Barrymore and Michael Vartan don’t do much to make their characters more likable or charismatic, again falling into the traps of the worst tropes of the genre, coming off as largely hollow people playing out the same formula as always, and that’s why I’m giving Never Been Kissed a 6.8 overall.